Your wheelchair, much like a wheelchair van, needs the proper maintenance to continue working properly throughout its life. It may seem complicated at first, but after some practice you can get to know the nuts and bolts of your chair and become a DIY wheelchair mechanic.
Your Wallet Will Thank You
According to the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, the average manual wheelchair is priced at $500. While some can be as cheap as $100, they generally are not made to last. The cost of an average wheelchair that is meant for everyday use can range from $1000-$2000. It’s not a small bit of money, and needless to say you don’t want to be paying for a new wheelchair on an annual basis.
But there are many things that you can do to maintain the quality of your wheelchair. That’s why we have created a handy DIY guide to giving your wheelchair the tune-up it needs to keep working properly for years.
Always make sure to refer to the owner’s manual before performing any maintenance on your wheelchair.
Cleaning Your Chair: You should make a habit of wiping down your wheelchair at least once a week (more if needed). Use a clean cloth that has been dampened with mild soap or detergent. Applying a bit of car wax to the frame of your wheelchair can make future cleanings easier. You can also buy a small can of paint to touch up any nicks and scratches.
While you clean your chair, it is also important to inspect the frame for cracks or signs of wear.
Tightening Nuts and Bolts: Purchase a good quality wrench or ratchet set and make sure to check the nuts and bolts of your chair on a monthly basis. Tighten anything that has come loose from constant usage.
Lubrication: At least once or twice a year (depending on usage) you should lubricate all pivot points and ball bearings on your chair.
Tire Pressure: Check your tire pressure twice a week to make sure it is at the level recommended by your users manual.
Patching/Changing Tires: It’s always a good idea to travel with a tire patch kit, extra air tube and a hand pump or CO2 cartridge for inflating tires as needed.
Here’s a quick guide to changing a tire on the go:
Rims and Spokes: At least once a week, you should inspect your wheels to make sure that the spokes are not bent or out of place. You should also make sure that your wheels are properly aligned.
Caster Housings/Axles: Once a month you should clean your axle of any debris that can prevent your wheels from moving properly.
If you need to change the casters on your wheelchair, this video can help:
Following these tips can help you to extend the life of your wheelchair and keep it moving well all throughout the year.
Do you know any shortcuts and quick DIY repairs for your wheelchair? Let us know in the comments below!